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JOUR 300: Journalism and Society

Final Paper

For your final paper, you will choose one of the following questions to research. Once you select a topic you will identify the background information needed to support your argument. Who are the people involved? What is the main concern or issue? Where does the event take place?

Use the Databases tab to locate resources for background information and resources to search for articles related to your question.


1. …it seems undeniable that the prevailing tendency in the media is towards the reproduction, amidst all their contradictions, of the definitions of the powerful, of the dominant ideology” (Hall et al, 2013, Policing the Crisis, p. 68). Critically evaluate this statement. In your answer (1) define the concepts of ideology and power, (2) outline the relationship between dominant ideology and the media, and (3) specifically discuss the role of the news media within this analysis. Use the example of crime reporting to support your answer.

2.“Since American journalism’s pivot many decades ago from an openly partisan press to a model of professed objectivity, the mainstream has allowed what it considers objective truth to be decided almost exclusively by white reporters and their mostly white bosses. And those selective truths have been calibrated to avoid offending the sensibilities of white readers. On opinion pages, the contours of acceptable public debate have largely been determined through the gaze of white editors”. This quote from Wesley Lowery highlights what some have called the “failures of neutral objective journalism”. Provide a critical analysis of this debate, especially as it has unfolded in the context of the news coverage of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests across many American cities in 2020. In your answer clarify how “objectivity” is defined and understood more generally and within journalism in particular.  To what extent is journalistic objectivity racialized?

3. It is no longer enough to report the fact truthfully. It is now necessary to report the truth about the fact”. Critically assess this statement. In your answer, draw upon the relevant academic literature concerning how both “fact” and “truth” are defined and understood.  Using the example of journalism, and the attacks on the legacy media by both Donald J. Trump and Elon Musk, discuss the contemporary debates about truth, facts and journalism. In your conclusion, state whether you agree or disagree with the quote and why.

4. “Our findings … echo those of the earlier studies. While the broadcast media give a clear account of the Israeli perspective on this conflict, many journalists … still find great difficulty in doing the same for the Palestinians” (Philo and Berry, 2011, p. 394). In More Bad News from Israel, academics Greg Philo and Mike Berry conclude, that, despite attempts at objectivity and neutrality, the Western news media generally offer more positive coverage of official Israeli perspectives and selective and partial reporting of Palestinian perspectives. The authors conclude that “the power of Israeli public relations, to effective lobbying and … the political and commercial links between Britain, the US and Israel” (p. 395) account for the broadly pro-Israeli news coverage. Their work was published over a decade ago and much has changed in the media landscape since then. For this question (1) summarize the key findings of Philo and Berry,(2), and answer the following question: during the current conflict in Israel/Palestine does the U.S. news media still offer biased coverage in favor of Israel, or is it more balanced, or biased in favor of Palestinians? You need to support your answer with reliable evidence and relevant examples. You need to draw upon the work of scholars and journalists who have researched this topic, and your own observations of news media. As with Philo and Berry, you can conduct a content study of news media (broadcast or legacy/print media) as long as you justify your sources and the dates chosen to analyze them, or you can draw selectively from a range of media, as long as you justify your selection (see the methodological justifications used by Philo and Berry as a guide). You might want to focus on a particular moment, say, “What happened on October 7th 2023?” or the recent “six month anniversary” of the attacks/war, and find news media, academic and commentaries on those events. You will find broadly “pro-Israeli” positions from Ben Shapiro, Bari Weiss, Bret Stephens, Sam Harris, Melanie Philips, and Douglass Murray, and broadly “pro-Palestinian” positions from Peter Beinart, Norman Finkelstein, Steven Thrasher, Mehdi Hasan, Rashid Khalidi and Naomi Klein. You will find critiques of pro-Israel bias from news organizations like:,, or and critiques of pro-Palestinian bias,, or

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